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Editorial

Marching Ahead Online and Leaving the Print Behind

Jeng, Bennie H. M.D.

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Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice: January 2021 - Volume 47 - Issue 1 - p 1
doi: 10.1097/ICL.0000000000000758
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Benjamin Franklin said that “… in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Many people, including myself, would add that “change” has also been recognized to be something that is certain. But who would have predicted, or could even have imagined, what the year 2020 would look like? Although COVID-19 has definitely wreaked havoc throughout the world, it has also invoked many changes that will likely make our lives never look the same again, even after the pandemic passes. Perhaps many of these changes were already en route, but kudos nonetheless to so many of our professional organizations who pivoted gracefully and successfully to convert events from live to virtual, including some of the biggest ophthalmologic meetings in the world. And how about the amazingly quick change that the American Board of Ophthalmology was able to do to convert the oral board examination from being held in hotel rooms to a virtual experience from the comfort of one's own home?

Indeed, the pandemic has allowed us to see that in this increasingly electronic age, travel is not always necessary anymore as we can easily see and talk to our colleagues from around the world on one of many available video conferencing platforms. Of course, the down side is the lack of collegial interaction, so my personal hope is that after the pandemic passes, our events will resume in a hybrid manner that still allows the opportunity for those interested and able to, to participate in person.

Clearly, the technological capabilities today have surpassed what many people have ever imagined. I used to watch re-runs of the 1960s The Jetsons cartoon on television when I was growing up, and I marveled at the concept of George Jetson flying in his spaceship and talking to (and seeing on the screen) his wife Jane, who was at home. Flying around in spaceships is not here (yet), but seeing each other on mobile phones has been here for some time now. Without a doubt, time keeps moving, technology keeps advancing, and change is inevitable.

Several years ago, I served on the editorial board of another journal, and I had the privilege to co-author an editorial with the editor-in-chief announcing that the journal had reached a “tipping point” and that new material would be posted online before print publication, allowing for articles to be available within a couple of months of acceptance.1Eye and Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice reached that point some time ago, as well, and the decision to post articles online ahead of print, as well as having some articles be online only, was highly appreciated by authors and readers. If fact, in the past 2 years, submissions to the journal have increased by nearly 75%, and I am pleased that despite this nearly doubling in volume, our average time to first decision actually decreased from 51 to 23 days, and our average time to final decision decreased from 94 to 57 days. Unfortunately, during this time, our capacity to publish has not increased, forcing us to pass on deserving submissions and resulting in our having a very high rejection rate.

It is therefore with great delight that I announce that beginning with this issue in January 2021, Eye and Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice will now transition from a bi-monthly print and online journal to a fully online monthly journal. Because most of our readership already accesses the journal electronically, our conversion to online only should be seamless for almost everyone. On top of that, we will be able to publish more articles and publish them monthly, all the while continuing to be PubMed indexed as before with NO publication costs (unless authors opt to make their articles open access). We hope that this will continue to encourage you, as the reader and researcher, to submit your work to us.

Our journal roots started over half a century ago as The Contact Lens Medical Bulletin (1967), when contact lenses were the mainstay of refractive error correction after cataract extraction. As the landscape of our field changed and advanced, the journal's name evolved along with this, first to the Contact Lens and Intraocular Lens Medical Journal (1975), then to the CLAO Journal (1983), and now finally to Eye and Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice (2003). In 2005, increasing popularity in the journal allowed us to expand from a quarterly publication to a bi-monthly publication. Now, with your support, the journal will be published monthly.

As the official journal of the Eye and Contact Lens Association, Eye and Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice publishes the most recent research related to contact lens and corneal issues. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with our outstanding associate editors and editorial board members to maintain our upward trajectory and to uphold the journal's high standards for publishing quality studies that advance our knowledge in the field. I am confident that with our expansion to a monthly online only journal, we will be able to quickly disseminate more of the high-quality work that you allow us the privilege of reviewing.

REFERENCE

1. Jeng BH, Albert DM. Reaching the tipping point. From print to online publication. JAMA Ophthalmol 2013;131:90.
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